My wonderful friend and assistant Photographer Paul-Antoine Goutal was interviewed for the blog lamaudlamaud.com. They graciously allowed us to repost the interview here on benjaminkanarekblog.com. I really wanted to share his New York experience with all of you out there who might be interested in discovering the Big Apple from the perspective of a foreign photographer.
Photography and you, how did it happen ?
In a very classical way: in my 20’s I started borrowing my father’s cameras (1 Nikon F with a 50 mm lens, an old 6×6 Semflex and a Minox 35GT, a inconspicuous pocket camera with a great f2.8 lens which I almost always carry with me). Amateur, he brought back beautiful images from his travels in Afghanistan, Nepal, India and Southern America.
It screamed old school adventure. Imagine yourself driving in an old Renault 4L passing by the Bamiyian buddhas (since then destroyed by the talibans with RPGs), crazy right ?
In the beginning, that’s what drew me to photography, gave me the travel bug and the craving for bringing images from my travels. And naturally, I fell for the charm of those beautiful machines and of the images you can produce from them, their strength and deepness. And the vintage feel of the film, not trendy at the time, gave it an adventure luster.
Switching to digital was tough, too many images taken, without a purpose. In fact, it’s how I learned photography. Technical at first and then on the meaning, slowing down, thinking it through, why this picture, which to keep, learning from the masters, …
Why this series on New-York?
This city is so photogenic and graphic, the light is so incredible (reflected from the buildings), it’s impossible not to bring back images. All the atmosphere and moods from the second half of the 20th century movies and photography are right there, in front of you, at every street corner. Hard not to be immersed in them.
New-York in a word?
It can be cliché, but NYC means the possibility to endeavor in anything … And to succeed with the sufficient amount of hard work, tenacity and luck too.
Your view on NY fashion?
So much rad eccentricity, joy, colors ; less elite, dull and conventional as parisian fashionistas. Especially on the streets.
Your unavoidable NY spot?
A few: the Mission Chinese, an asian fusion restaurant in Lower East Side (delicate and impatient taste buds, look out but it’s a definite wowser), sipping a drink with a view on the whole Manhattan on the terrace of the Wythe Hotel in Green Point (Brooklyn) and a southing wandering in the Cloisters, monasteries brought back there from Europe stone after stone by a medieval art maniac at the northern end of Manhattan.
Your personal news?
After the crazy parisian fashion weeks, enjoying empty Paris a little more and a few shoots for agencies and assisting photographer friends, both making beautiful work of their own (Benjamin Kanarek and Tess Feuilhade).
And then a couple of weeks in the mountain to work on personal projects (two portraits series and an exhibition) and getting ready for the september fashion weeks.
All Photos © Paul-Antoine Goutal